(Flint, Mich. – Oct. 28, 2016) Seven Genesee County businesses and entrepreneurs will compete in the “Catapult Your Craft Food & Beverage Business Contest” at the Flint Farmers’ Market on Nov. 2, 2016.

The pitch event – a project of the I-69 Thumb Region – kicks off the contest’s county-level competitions and will determine who will proceed to the regional finals.

“This competition is all about supporting the growth of craft food and beverage businesses in Genesee County and the I-69 Thumb Region,” said Janice Karcher, Vice President of Economic Development at the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce. “Our goal is help expand production, increase jobs and spur economic activity in our region’s agricultural and food-based sectors.”

The contest will be held from 5:30 to 8 p.m. in the Ramsdell Room at the Flint Farmers’ Market, at 300 E. 1st St. Competitors include:

  • Bongos’ Popcorn (Michelle Yaklin)
  • Carmel Yum Yums (Tonya Burton)
  • Concentrated Ginger Beverage (Bethany Collins)
  • Gavin’s Macky Cheese (Gislain Jackson)
  • Ge’maux Macarons (Sarah Razak)
  • Olympus Fare (Stacy Pillera)
  • Top Hops Farm (Sean Trowbridge)

Each contestant will have four minutes to present their product to the judges, who include Bryce Moe of Skypoint Ventures, Kyle McCree of the Flint & Genesee Chamber, Bob Waun of C3 Ventures and Lottie Ferguson of Ennis Center.

Like each of the county-level competitions, cash prizes of $2,000 and $1,000 will be awarded to the first and second place winners, respectively.

The first-place winners for each county will move on to a regional contest, with a chance to win the top prize of $5,000. Cash prizes of $3,000 and $1,000, respectively, will be awarded for second and third place in the regional finals.

Other upcoming county-level competitions include:

  • St. Clair – Nov. 7, St. Clair Community College Fine Arts Building
  • Lapeer – Nov. 9, White Horse Inn in Metamora
  • Shiawassee – Nov. 10, TBD
  • Huron – Nov. 10, Pasta House in Kinde
  • Tuscola– Nov. 10, Board of Commissioners Chambers in Caro
  • Sanilac –  Nov.  14, Sandusky Public Library

The Flint event is free and open to the public, although registration is required. To register by the Nov. 1 deadline, click here.

The regional competition will take place in January. For more information, visit www.i-69thumbregion.org.

Competition prizes have been made possible through a grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and other sponsors. The Flint Food Works is providing free time in their commercial kitchen to the Genesee County winners. Additional assistance and marketing partners include the I-69 Trade Corridor SBDC, Skypoint Ventures, the Flint Area Reinvestment Office and Metro Community Development.

The I-69 Thumb Region is a partnership of the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce, Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership, Lapeer Development Corporation, Economic Development Alliance of St. Clair County, Sanilac & Huron County Economic Development Corporation and Tuscola County Economic Development Corporation.